12 Sep 2020

Series 6, Episode 3: Yusef Salaam

Yusef Salaam is one of the ‘Central Park Five’ who became to be known the ‘Exonerated Five’.

It was case of racial injustice which shocked America three decades ago, when five Black and Hispanic teenagers were wrongfully jailed over the gang rape of a woman in New York’s Central Park in 1989. But after years behind bars, the ‘Central Park Five’ were finally exonerated in 2002.

Now one of them, Yusef Salaam, has written a novel in verse called ‘Punching The Air’ in collaboration with the author Ibi Zoboi, based on his experiences. Yusef talks to Krishnan about how he remembers the experience that shaped his life, why he believes racism is escapable and why 2020 is a symbolic year.

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